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The Edicts of the Illuminati: Proofs of a Conspiracy...pp. 49

We are backtracking a bit in this post because of artistic decisions. Last post I had to conclude with the dissolution of the Illuminati by the Bavarian government (not the Vatican as Dan Brown would have it). The post skipped over why that happened. As we stated the Illuminati and all other secret societies had been banned by the monarch because of pamphlets that had been passed around questioning the need for a monarchy. The edict was never really enforced and the Lodge Theodore, the Masonic lodge passing out the documents, continued to operate. Then, in 1783 four professors of the Marianen Academy confessed to being members of the Illuminati and exposed some of the secrets of the group. A couple of things right now. The first is that the group of professors making the confession worked for the widow of the previous Elector of Bavaria. The Elector had been trying to snuff out the secret societies for a bit but was unable to find legal justification to do so. Then four professors work

The Plot: Proofs of a Conspiracy...pp. 47-49

We've introduced our villain--Adam Weishaupt--well kind of. He's going to take the conspiracy from all of the new people that thought Masonry could do more than just host rib night on Thursdays. Last post we dug a bit into who Weishaupt was as a person, and now we're going to move forward with the actual conspiracy plot. Finally, we're going to get to this. I was promised proof of a conspiracy against the globe and so far I got an 18th-century stand-up routine, "French masons are like this, but German masons are like this..." One thing I have to say upfront, and I definitely should have said this before: I don't know where Robison is getting his information. In the first chapter, I could divine that it was mostly his experience and then what people told him. At best, his information is coming second-hand. There was a book he mentioned that described the various Masonic lodges but that was it for sources. As he delves into Weishaupt the person and the happe

The Mysterious Adam Weishaupt: Proofs of a Conspiracy...pp. 46-47

 " I AM (sic)  now arrived at what I should call the great epoch of Cosmo-politism, the scheme communicated to Baron Knigge by the Marchese di Constanza. " We've had an entire chapter that has failed to illuminate a global conspiracy that seeks to upend the rule of religion and monarchy in Europe. This is depressing for two reasons: A) it's the title of the book and why we are reading the damn thing to begin with. B) this book plays the role of the original foundation for these types of conspiracy theories. Our last book, Allen's "None Dare Call it Conspiracy" cites it, Nesta Webster cites it (Nazi sympathizer and conspiracist), in fact: without this book, this type of conspiracy has no English language foundation (there is a French book by Augustin Baurrel that would also serve). So where is my damn conspiracy theory?  It might just live here. This week's selection begins chapter 2, titled "The Illuminati." Ok, this means we are in right?

More History Lessons: Proofs of a Conspiracy...pp. 37-46

 There's a certain disconnect between the language of today and that of two centuries ago--even though we are both writing in English Robison and I have been educated in different styles. These styles of writing are products of the culture we were brought up in. That's the only salient difference, we are both men, both literate, educated, and both have the same job--we're both Philosophers. While he would be considered a "Natural Philosopher" and I would be an "Epistemic (?) Philosopher" it's the same tradition. Robison writes more like Aristotle though, and that means when possible he's going to write about the long-dead history of a thing in order to get us to the present. The first two pages of this section are a detailed commentary on the religion of the German people...and I just can't care about this. It's religious infighting between the Lutherans, the Catholics, and the Calvinists. I should be clear that this is interesting stuff,

Ze Germans are Coming: Proofs of a Conspiracy...pp.30-37

Last week Robison discussed the dangerous idea of separating the state from religion while pointing out the exact reason that it needs to be done. He's done with that idea, and it seems to me that he needs a better editor. In the current book that I am writing, I have chapter breaks where I think they belong, but there are probably other places as well. Maybe for length, but then again, maybe just for the abrupt shift in the discussion. This chapter is supposed to be about schisms within Freemasonry and we've kind of get that, but it's mostly an old versus the young neophobic complaint. There hasn't been a schism. Now, Robison lays out his love for the German people and Germany itself...except Germany isn't unified at this point in history. There aren't "Germans" there are "Bavarians" and there are "Prussians" but there aren't Germans. As Machiavelli would argue; despite the political lines, there is a common language that unite

Genuine Religion: Proofs of a Conspiracy pp. 28-30

We left off last week discussing Robison's complaints that irreligion has been infesting Masonry. According to him, this is the source of the rot within Europe as the Masons are extremely influential. They've been pushing liberal ideas concerning religion and new ideas that run in the face of orthodoxy. This is why it is with great confusion that I introduce this week's section.  Robison ended last week discussing the need for religious instruction as the only means to morality. Religious instruction he writes, " if the public instructors should add all the motives to virtuous moderation which are suggested by the considerations of genuine religion,  every advice would have a tenfold influence. " I've underlined the phrase "genuine religion" because Robison is going to, ironically, "no true Scotsman" all religion. I've seen this phrase before though, it appears in various writings from this period but it is only used as an insult to wha

#notallMasons: Proofs of a Conspiracy pp. 26-28

 One of the constant arguments against atheism/rationalism is to argue that religion serves some kind of need beyond the spiritual. If there is no religion: what then will restrain the masses? The first reply is the law, but that is not good enough for these people. They think that you need something else on top of it: fear of divine retribution. The underlying point is to put the non-religious, (in Robison's words) the free-thinkers on the defensive. You aren't good people because here are two examples of people that committed crimes once. Robison is going to apply this gambit in order to besmirch this new movement in the Masonry.  The first example he trots out is Voltaire. It begins with a sort of pretentious rhetoric that I'm way too used to hearing, " What man is there who seems better to know his Master's will? No man expresses more propriety, with more exactness, the feelings of a good mind. No man seems more sensible of the immutable obligations of justice